You can thank the X-Men for all of your favorite comic book movies. Their successful first effort set the tone for everything from the MCU to Christopher Nolan's iconic Batman films. Here's a definitive ranking of every movie set in the X-Men universe, from worst to best. (We’ll update when we finally see “Dark Phoenix.”)
11. 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' (2009)
Thanks to studio-mandated fan-service (too many mutant cameos), Wolverine is relegated to a supporting role in his own movie -- which is full of terrible CG and even more terrible narrative choices. The worst of the worst? “Magic” memory-wiping bullets and a face palm-y depiction of Deadpool (pictured), where the Merc with the Mouth has his mouth fused shut. Yep, that happened.
10. 'X-Men: The Last Stand' (2006)
We'd cry too, Logan, if this movie was on our resume. Hell, we still angry cry whenever we think of this epic misfire, that thinks killing a hero, Cyclops, off-screen is a good idea. From “I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!” to pretty much every other scene is this lackluster sequel, “X-Men: The Last Stand” nearly sets a franchise record for packing in so many wrong things into a normal-sized movie.
9. 'X-Men: Apocalypse' (2016)
Nevermind that a decade passes between these new prequels and the cast barely ages a day. And ignore all the negative reviews – “X-Men: Apocalypse” is an entertaining disaster epic starring your favorite mutants that achieves some emotionally resonate moments that call back to Bryan Singer's first film in the series. What doesn't work is Singer's seemingly uninspired visual direction and yet another story about proving there's still good in the really bad Magneto -- who ultimately (shocker) turns good just in time (again!) after spending much of the soulless third act floating purposelessly in a swirl of CG. Also, it's hard not to just feel bad for Oscar Isaac, under gobs of make-up, as the titular villain.
8. ‘Deadpool 2’ (2018)
“Deadpool 2” isn’t a bad movie, per se, but it lacks the surprise and spontaneity that made the first movie so much fun. While undoubtedly entertaining, with MORE of everything -- more characters (including Zazie Beatz’s charming performance as Domino), more action set pieces (mostly involving Deadpool facing off against time traveling bad-ass Josh Brolin), and much more blood (it really flirts with an NC-17, which makes the PG-13 cut even more baffling) – without much in the way of dividends. And worst of all, the big emotional moment in the first act is undone by the credits.
7. 'X-Men' (2000)
Despite criticisms that the film plays out like an extended trailer for a bigger (potentially better) movie, Bryan Singer's initial “X-Men” is a confidently-executed introduction to the mutants -- filled with powerful Holocaust imagery and strong thematic ideas wrapped around asking: what would life be like if one were a mutant? Answer: More trips on jets that live under a basketball court and lots of fights atop NYC landmarks.
6. 'The Wolverine' (2013)
Two thirds of this movie capture the brooding, lone wolf thing that fans love in their Wolverine stories -- especially this one, which finally brings the character's Japan arc to the screen. "The Wolverine's" last third, however, goes off the rails with a weird showdown between Wolverine and a DNA-sucking Silver Samurai (don't ask). Hugh Jackman gives his best performance to date as our favorite X-Men, finally given something really meaty to play as Logan struggles with the consequences of outliving all those he will or could ever love. And bonus points for that very inventive mid-point fight atop a bullet train.
5. 'Deadpool' (2016)
It's ironic that the one movie set in the X-Men universe that doesn't (technically) feature Wolverine has proven to be the most successful and beloved of the bunch. "Deadpool" freed moviegoers from the increasingly convoluted continuity of the main films to deliver a gleefully funny, raunchy and self-aware story of an assassin getting in touch with his inner hero.
4. 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' (2014)
"X-Men: Days of Future Past" serves as both a sequel (ish) to "X-Men: First Class" and a ret-con of the original X-Men films, as the laws of physics are literally broken via time travel to bridge the two casts. Bryan Singer's first X-Men film since 2003 is one of his best; an assured, "Terminator"-inspired adventure that boasts the biggest production values the series has ever seen.
3. 'X-Men: First Class' (2011)
Magneto's James Bond-inspired Nazi hunt is just one of the many great things about this 1960s-set prequel. It's basically "Magneto Begins" or maybe "Professor X: Year One," as we watch the birth of the X-Men -- a genesis which finds them struggling to stop World War III by way of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
2. 'Logan' (2017)
With "Logan" director and co-writer James Mangold set out to deliver a definitive and R-rated comic book movie for adults. One that explores the cost of being an aging superhero full of bone-deep regret. The end result is a violent, and at times, tear-jerking affair that makes it hard to let go of Hugh Jackman's iconic take on the character.
1. 'X2: X-Men United' (2003)
It's the "Wrath of Khan" of the X-Men films, as our heroes team up with their enemy to battle an even bigger threat -- Col. Stryker, who wants to wipe out mutant-kind. The character-driven storyline and impressive set pieces, including a harrowing dogfight with the X-Jet, make "X2" one of the best comic book films ever.